The Do Command: Be Last

last in line

 

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:10-11 (NLT)

Oh, Jesus! He’s always shaking things up with only a sentence or two. People are people regardless of the era or cultural constraints. Jesus notices the jockeying for position that is taking place to get the “good seats” at dinner. Jesus didn’t let this opportunity pass, He made the most of it.

He points out the need everyone has—the need to feel important—the need to be noticed.

Did you just hear the little voice in your head say, “Not me, I’m not like that. I’d be Ok if I was never noticed.”? I have news for you; if you heard that voice, you do have that need. I hear it. I would venture a guess that nearly everyone hears it.

If you’re not sure you heard it, recall the last time your contribution to your family was down-played. Think about the time a co-worker got the credit YOU deserved. Think about your reaction to someone who cut you off at the intersection, or who got ahead of you in line at the store.   In the face of those situations, if you remained unchanged, if you felt nothing well up inside of you needing to cry out for justice or recognition, you can stop reading and come back tomorrow.

Hmm. Perfect. Let’s go down this uncomfortable path together. I’m right here with you.

Jesus wasn’t simply discussing courtesy or social norms. He was confronting attitudes. Notice Jesus included everyone at the party, both the guests and the host. Social standing is very important in American culture.   It may have been more rigorously defined in Jesus’ day, but don’t confuse our subtly for lack of rigor.

At an early age, children, with laser-point accuracy, size up other children in the playground hierarchy. That carries over to college, work, neighborhoods, clubs and sadly, church. Unless you are totally without self-awareness, you know where you belong, and don’t belong, in the pecking order.

Now, abolish that pecking order. Happy day!! Now, no one is better than anyone else is. The playing field is level: the hobo and the king, the doctor and the garbage man, the rich and poor, the intelligent and the illiterate.

Isn’t it great – we’re all the same!!

Does that make you feel good or uneasy? How do you know if you are good? How do you know if you are better than the next guy? What gauge do you use to know if you are good enough?

Now, do you see why Jesus was about to get in trouble with the religious folks?

This is an unsettling notion; we are all the same. It’s at the heart of grace. It strips away all of the things you rely on to make God take notice of you. It reduces each person to a pitiful, wretch that needs amazing grace.

Taking the lowest seat or the last place in line requires admitting that you are in the position of a servant. That’s a difficult position to accept if you have worked hard to make something of yourself. With an American mindset, if you’ve worked and sacrificed your whole life, it’s difficult to accept the notion that all you bring to the table is worthless. If you feel you’ve produced something, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when you realize that you are the same as the person next to you who can bring nothing.

The “Do Command” to take the last place is the extension of the command from a few days ago—to lay up treasure in heaven. The activities of helping the poor, visiting the sick and giving don’t often get the spotlight, at least here on earth. Once again, at the end of His instruction, Jesus gives the reminder, that God is keeping an account in heaven. Here on earth, it’s the believer’s task to step back, put others in front of you, be a servant, be last.

Father, it is very difficult to avoid comparing myself to others. Help me rest in the grace You have provided. Teach me to see others through your eyes of compassion. Let me act humbly toward others today in acts of love and service.

 

Image courtesy of Bing.com/images

Read More

The Do Commands: Keep Going

keep going

 

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good.  At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)

 I attribute my less than successful experience in graduate school to one of my character flaws. I have many excuses for why I didn’t finish my thesis; but when it comes right down to it, I’m not good with never-ending projects.

Granted, my specific project was part of a bigger research project, one that I’m sure still continues in some form today, 24 years later. While working in the lab, I watched my major professor diligently conduct his experiments and record the data, day in and day out, everyday, for the 30 months I worked with him. For me, the tedium was excruciating. I like discreet events; start, do, end. That’s how I like it.

Today’s verse provides a good reminder. This verse is the conclusion of Paul’s thought from the previous verses. A summary of the commands that lead up to verse 9 goes like this: live creatively, forgive, share the burdens of others, evaluate your role and then ACT, keep your life your focus, never stop learning and striving for Christ-like maturity, share your wealth both things and knowledge, what you sow is what you reap – without fail. So, don’t get tired of doing good. Don’t stop planting good seeds. Don’t quit.

Paul, the guy who writes about running races and “beating his body” into submission like athletes train for competition in other letters, now switches his analogy to one of planting seeds and reaping a harvest. I can’t relate to running or being an athlete, but I can relate to planting seeds.

Each spring I plant seeds and then I wait. It’s a long process from the planting to the flowers. For a while, there is only dirt in the flowerbed. Then small, fragile little seedlings sprout. The seedlings that survive the weather and the rabbits grow into plants. Finally, finally weeks later, there are flowers.

In life, the payoff may come months or years after the planting.

God’s word to you today is wait it out, there is a pay-off. You may have to spend years looking at what appears to be “dirt.” Many days can pass between the prayer and the answer, the witness and the conversion, the work and the reward.

Don’t grow weary because you don’t see results or because the first things you see are small and fragile. Plant good seeds and God will provide a good harvest. Keep tending the field of your life with the activities that Paul mentions in the first verses of this chapter and then wait for God’s faithful harvest.

Father, give me the strength to keep doing good when I don’t see a pay-off. Help me trust your word that YOU provide the harvest when I plant the seeds. Thank You for this promise and encouragement.

 

Image courtesy of Bing.com/images

Read More

The Do Commands: Lay Up Treasure

treasure2

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being…” Matthew 6:19-21 (MSG)

~~~~~~~

…‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’             Matthew 25:37-40 (MSG) Matthew 25:31-56

 

The command lay up treasure in heaven seems particularly cumbersome for believers in America. Many equate the word “treasure” with money and to lay up money in heaven seems odd. Some jump to the erroneous conclusion that having money or things is bad and balk at the command thinking God wants them to give everything they have away to the poor and needy.

Maybe that is God’s call to you as an individual. I don’t believe it’s the call to every believer.

It takes a bit of deductive reasoning to figure out what the treasure is. It’s worth figuring out.

The passage in Matthew 6 begins Jesus’ teaching about what is important. Money and things make excellent servants, but poor masters. Not only are they fleeting, money and things typically draw your attention to them and away from worshipping, trusting in and serving God. Tangible wealth requires attention; you have to care for and protect your assets.

Jesus’ words provide a warning about the trap stuff sets for the weak human heart. Some usually leads to more and more leads to never enough. Some leads to the worry that what you have will be ruined or lost. That pursuit, instead of Godliness, can easily become the focus of your life.

What kind of actions do you associate with the accumulation of money and stuff? When Ozzy’s toys are strewn across the room, I’ll get on the floor and begin collecting them, saying, “This is mine!” I’ll snatch them up and hold them as I crawl to the next toy. Grabbing the first 2 or 3 doesn’t bother Ozzy, but as the game goes on and I’m holding most of his toys, he gets visibly worried. He’ll begin to dive at the last couple of toys and run to hide them in his kennel. When stuff is your focus, the tendency is to grab, hoard and fret when you think your stuff is in danger.

On the other hand, when money or things serve you, your hands are open to those in need. You are willing to give away what you have to someone who is less fortunate. You are willing to give your time caring for another individual. Instead of getting more, your focus is giving more.

You help those who can’t help themselves and those who can’t repay your generosity. You realize the things you have aren’t truly yours and when you give them back to God through acts of kindness and service, He sets them aside for you in heaven, awaiting your arrival.

These acts don’t achieve your salvation. That comes through Christ’s sacrifice alone. Nor do these acts make you more attractive to God. It’s your act of worship to Him. In many ways, this attitude makes God more attractive to you. As you open your hands and give your energy and the things you have to others, you begin to realize how much God has blessed you. That can only result in praise and adoration.

Don’t worry. God is a master accountant. He keeps excellent records—rest assured, the result of your acts of kindness and giving are safe and awaiting you.

The size you your account is entirely up to you.

Father, loosen my grip on things. Help me understand my time and energy belong to You as well. I want to add to the pile You’re saving for me. Teach me to be generous to bring glory to You.

Image courtesy of Bing.com/images

 

 

 

Read More

The Do Commands: Take Your Seat

head table

 

For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.  So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6-7(NLT)

 

 

The reception hall drips with the colors the bride chose as her colors for her day. Glitter twinkles, bunches of tulle fill the empty space with festive bows. If it weren’t obvious, place cards mark the special seats saved for the bride, groom and their special friends. You may not know which table to sit at as you enter the reception hall, but there is one table that is off-limits for sure—the head table.

Now imagine—you’re the friend of a guest.   You aren’t a relative of the bride or groom. You aren’t a friend of the family. You’re the friend of a friend—a stranger to everyone who is important on this very special day. As you and your friend enter the reception hall, the father of the bride grabs your arm and escorts you to the front table. You don’t deserve to be seated in such a position.   The wedding party sits at that table, not the guest of a friend, certainly not a stranger. Still, there you are—a stranger—a guest, seated in a place of honor. It’s not as if you strayed there by mistake. That would be awkward. Since everyone at the reception saw you escorted by the bride’s dad, no one questions why you are sitting at the head table. It must be OK.

God saved a seat for you. It’s not just any seat. It’s not at the back of the concert hall, not in the nose-bleed section, and it’s not the table by the kitchen. It’s the best seat in the house. Your seat is with Christ.

Why would the father of the groom seat a stranger at the head table? He most likely wouldn’t.

Why would the God of the universe save you a seat next to His Son?

Because God is gracious—gracious beyond what you can explain.   Grace is receiving unmerited favor. You don’t deserve to be at God’s right hand, nor do I. That’s what makes it grace. The juxtaposition is so extreme, it’s noteworthy. This jaw-dropping spectacle shows God’s infinite love for you.

When Christ died on the cross, all the punishment that should have been yours, He bore. Christ took the punishment and paid the penalty. There is no penalty for you to pay when you receive Christ’s gift of salvation.   Christ paid the debt of sin, and you reap the kindness of Father. God now acts toward you as He would act toward his own Son. That’s why you get the royal treatment. Christ paid the price to secure that position. The ticket for that seat was not cheap, but it’s yours, saved for you eternally because of Christ.

The funny thing is God put you in the special seat, not for your comfort or for your glory—but for His. The benefit of grace is yours and mine—reconciliation brings with it a great reward. God’s plan goes beyond comfort. God’s plan is to display His love and grace. Honor a stranger—showcase a deplorable, undeserving, visitor? That action would not glorify the uneasy and embarrassed guest—but rather offer a display of the host’s generosity.

Is that what salvation is all about?

God offers reconciliation. God offers love and grace. God does it for His glory. He does it to showcase His love for humanity. Take your seat and let God’s love shine to the other visitors at the reception.

Father, thanks for saving me a seat! Thanks for saving me the best seat! What a humbling honor. Remind me that my life is not about me—but about You. Help me live a life worthy of such an honor bringing glory to You!

Image courtesy of Bing.com/images

Read More

The Do Commands: Stay Focused

focus2

Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord.  Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for Him with all their hearts.  They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths.  You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully.  Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect Your decrees!  Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with Your commands.  As I learn your righteous regulations, I will thank You by living as I should!  I will obey Your decrees.

Please, don’t give up on me! Psalm 119:1-8 (NLT)

Have you ever noticed a smaller bird “picking on” a larger bird while they are both in flight? I’ve watched that happen in the back yard and along the river—large, predator birds are vexed by a smaller birds. If you aren’t sure what I mean, here’s a video link.

Recently I watched a hawk swoop down from atop a telephone pole. The hawk had some small critter in its site. The hawk’s motions were deliberate—he was about to get lunch. During the descent, a grackle swooped in from nowhere and pecked at the hawk. In case you aren’t familiar with them, grackles are creepy black birds with haunting yellow eyes that only cause mayhem. The hawk adjusting his flight plan and kept moving toward his prey on the ground—the grackle swooped again.

Then the scene changed.

The hawk’s determination vanished. The forceful, straight line slowed, the hawk landed and did a visual scan of the ground. The hawk’s lunch was out of sight. The hawk looked around and flew off with no prize for his effort.  The grackle was gone. The grackle didn’t steal the hawk’s lunch.  The grackle and the vermin didn’t have a pact—the grackle wasn’t acting on anyone’s behalf.

The grackle was nothing more than a distraction to the hawk.

Focus.

I struggle with keeping focus. I have no trouble starting out with drive and determination. I struggle with keeping my eye on the target. I can relate to the plea of the Psalmist;

Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect Your decrees! (NLT)

What is it that breaks my concentration and my determination? What causes me to lose site of the target that I once had in laser-focus? Usually, it’s boredom. Sometimes, it’s laziness. Other times, piddly distractions peck at me and cause me to take my eyes off the prize. By the time I turn my attention back to the goal, the moment has passed, the opportunity is gone, or my energy dissipated.

Psalm 119 is long. It is an elaborate prayer. It’s a prayer of dedication. It’s an honest prayer that admits dedicated focus is a challenge. It’s an honest prayer. In each stanza of the Psalm, you’ll find the acknowledgement—maintaining focus difficult—distractions swoop in and can easily draw one off course. You’ll also notice the plea for help. You’ll see the prize for keeping your eye on the target.

If you need a formula, here it is. First, familiarize yourself with God’s ways. Second, set your mind on God’s plan and then continually ask God to help to keep you on target. Finally, experience the joy of focused obedience and thankful living.

Father, teach me the value of focus. Remind me of the prize when my good intentions begin to dissipate. Help me to remember—in my strength I will never accomplish what You have for me to do. Teach me to rely on Your love and grace for the strength and focus I need to live the life you have for me. Keep me focused on You.

Image courtesy of Bing.com/Images

 

 

 

 

Read More

The Do Commands: Use the Right Scale

scale

 

Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32 (NLT)

I went to Costco last night for the first time.  Wow! It’s indicative of our American culture. We have a king sized candy bar, supersized value meal, get more for your money, bigger is better, large and in charge kind of culture. The attitude is so pervasive believers can get caught up in the rush. How does one measure his or her worth? “Am I good enough?” is the haunting question that makes sleep restless. The apparent ease of others who seem to win and effortlessly achieve their goals only intensifies the bitterness of defeat or failure.

More, More, MORE – that is the message not so subtly woven into most of what you see and hear in any given setting these days, sometimes even in church.

Does that message leave you uneasy? Do you feel harried by the continual assault to be more, do more, and have more? Does your heart pound with anxiety as you look at yourself and what you have and wonder how you will measure up?

Relax. The message of Christ is less is more. Throughout scripture, those who are small, weak, unskilled, ill prepared, poor, disadvantaged and overlooked are the very ones chosen by God.

David was a kid when he killed the 9-foot tall giant, Goliath.   David was taking snacks to his older brothers on the battlefield. David was no warrior. He was a kid. He had no armor, no actual training, he had a sling shot and 5 rocks. David was on God’s side. That made all the difference.

God whittled down Gideon’s army to only 300 men. In human estimation, that was not enough to win the battle. God explained to Gideon that with 300 men, when they won, they would know it was because God gave them the victory.

There are more examples of less is more. The widow with just enough oil and flour for one more meal, the widow with just a few pennies the boy with the loaves and fish, all had not enough when measured by human standards but more than enough when measured by God’s standard. That is the key.  Jesus talked about it in Matthew 6. It’s the opposite message of the world.

Jesus’ message is don’t worry about getting more, having more, being more. Jesus’ message is give God what little you have and then stand back as He makes it into something extraordinary. A small bit of faith, is enough if it moves you to action. A giant circumstance is the perfect opportunity for you to trust in God’s strength, skill and love. Inadequate resources leave you no other option but to trust The One who owns everything. When you find yourself abandoned by those you thought would always be at your side; that is the moment you can hear God’s small voice of peace and encouragement.

Are you low on resources? Do you feel inadequate for the task? Are you alone? Does the future have you baffled? Perfect! You are a perfect candidate in God’s estimation. Measure yourself with God’s scale and you’ll have enough!

Father, forgive me for the times I overestimated myself and underestimated You! Forgive me for looking at me, Your creation, and thinking that I wasn’t what You made me to be. Help me to find my self-worth in Your loving grace and in Your plan for me!

Image courtesy of Bing.com/images

Read More

The Do Commands: Choose Life

dirty Ozzy - Copy - Copy - Copy

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life.… Deuteronomy 30:19a (NIV)

 Ozzy gets fed twice a day, plus good-boy treats. He has never been underweight. He has a great life and if he asks for more food, he gets it. He does ask. If he’s hungry and his food bowl is empty, he’ll knock it around the kitchen until his needs are met.

Still, I have to police the trash.

What is in the trash that is so appealing to Ozzy? Well, once it was burned ketchup from the meat loaf pan. By burned, I mean, BLACK and greasy. Other times it’s paper napkins or paper towels, Q-tips, various wrappers or potato peels. Sometimes there is food in his bowl, which he ignores to go digging for something in the trash. Whatever it is, it’s trash and not as good as the food sitting untouched in his bowl.

I don’t know why the trash is so appealing.

I will admit, I have opted for “trash” instead of “good food”, figuratively speaking. Sometimes the trash has an appeal. There is something tantalizing about it. Unfortunately, it is only after you find yourself wallowing in the trash, the realization set in; this is trash, there has to be something better! In writing about Moses, Hebrews 11:25, admits there is some pleasure in sin, albeit fleeting. The pleasure is not in a 1:1 ratio with the trouble sin causes. The pleasure is limited and fleeting, the problems, usually compound and lasting.

Still, there is a tendency to rush toward sin; to dig in the trash. God made a clear distinction in Deuteronomy 30:11-20. God states it’s not a hard decision or difficult to understand–life and prosperity or death and destruction.

The trashcan is there and available for rooting through, but God gives the “obvious” advice in v 19; choose life. The reasons are interesting: first for our descendants, but more importantly,

“that you may love the Lord your God and listen to His voice

and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…”

Along with the tendency to dig in the trash is the tendency to blame someone else for putting you in the trashcan. It’s easy to blame others for giving you “trash” while you look at the “good food” others possess. Sometimes, it’s easy to blame God for your trashcan experience. It’s difficult to live both in and out of the trash can. Therefore, God tells you simply to stay out, for your own good; life and love are easier outside of the trashcan. He has prosperity and life for you, if that is what you choose.

If you are rooting around in the trashcan, you can climb out anytime. God is waiting to refresh you, to give you a new start, to make life livable. God says this is a command that is not too difficult but the choice is up to you.

Choose life.  Get out of the trashcan, put the lid on it and never go back again.

 

Father, Remind me daily to stay out of the trash. Remind me the easy way is often not the best way. Remind me no matter how good the trash may look, it’s still trash. Help me to choose Your way and the good things You have for me. Help me to love You, hold fast to You and find my life in You.

Read More

The Do Command: Study

study

 

Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. 2 Timothy 2:14-15 (MSG)

  2 Timothy 2:1-18

I taught biology for about 6 years. I love teaching. I enjoy seeing the look on the face of a person who finally “gets it.” The other day I found some old lecture notes tucked inside a textbook. Memories came rushing back—memories of learning that material myself and then memories of teaching that material. I’ll never forget the day I “got it” while during a lecture to a room of 80 students, a concept I could explain by rote, finally made sense to me. I almost started laughing. If the class had only known, they might have been more relaxed about their collective futures.

One of the common questions I got from students was, “Is this going to be on the test?”  I would explain to the individual asking the question that I couldn’t possibly know the specific information he would need to know in the future so it would be worth it to study all the material.   That was never popular advice, since studying requires effort and commitment.

I memorized 2 Timothy 2:15 from the King James Version which says,

“Study to show thyself approved a worker who need not be ashamed,rightly dividing the word of truth.”

It’s worth backing up just a bit to get Paul’s full message to Timothy. Timothy the young pastor in Ephesus, seemed a bit overwhelmed if you read between the lines of Paul’s letter to him. Although Paul’s words were to pastor Timothy, they can apply to any believer.

Verse 1 of 2 Timothy 2, begins with Paul’s command, Throw yourself into this work for Christ. Paul encourages an all or nothing sort of attitude. He uses the example of a soldier, an athlete and a farmer. Each of those tasks takes commitment. Each faces opposition, discouragement and rigor while completing the task they have been assigned. This Christianity is not for the faint of heart—it’s for the committed.

By verse 8 Paul presents his main teaching point: Jesus. Jesus died and rose from the dead to bring salvation to all who believe. That’s it. That is the entire gospel in one sentence. Verse 13 provides a few more details of the plan.

Finally, in verse 14, Paul gives great teaching advice. Repeat this essential truth over and over. It is always good advice to stress the basics. The basics are the foundation of any discipline. If you don’t know the difference between verbs and nouns, if you can’t add and multiply, if you don’t understand quarter notes and rests, if you don’t know the difference between protons and electrons; composition, algebra, music and chemistry don’t make any sense.

Paul goes on to encourage hard work and diligence in presenting the truth of Christ in words people can understand. The believer is to live out the words not just be able to say them. Paul warns against leading other believers or unbelievers astray from the simple truth of Christ.

The King James word “study” may not be the best translation of the original word, but if you remember your days of studying, you‘ll get the idea. Studying implies commitment to the subject matter. You may remember “studying” for a test with friends as it de-evolved into a social event. You might also remember truly studying; cracking the books and taking notes, putting forth a huge effort to do well on the test and finally coming to an understanding of the subject.

That’s Paul’s advice. Jump into this pursuit of knowing Christ. Work, strive, train, and keep at it until you understand. Review the basics so a slick talker doesn’t throw you off track. Don’t engage in meaningless debate over the tiny details you will never know here on earth and that lead the listener’s attention away from Christ. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. (v. 15)

Father, thank You for Your Word. Help me study it—help it become a part of me. I will study. I will learn Who You are and Your will for me. I will know You so I can share Your love with others. Help me be a good student.

Image Courtesy of Bing.com/images

 

Read More

It’s Saturday!

self

Today it’s nothing but shameless self-promotion! Read on, if you dare!

In keeping with this month’s topic of “Do Commands,” I have some suggestions or requests.

 

1.  Buy A Book (either real or virtual)

If you are looking for a gift—for you or someone else—I suggest purchasing one of my devotional books. They are all on sale at Amazon.com if you purchase a few, you won’t have to pay shipping.

The Books We Never Read is the best bargain—it’s a 3 month devotional. If you think the Old Testament is irrelevant to your life today, read the books we never read and you’ll find the story of God’s grace told and re-told in the lives of people with funny names, who lived in places with strange names, but who share the same struggles you do. You’ll also find the same grace tucked in these ancient stories.

A Clever Disguise if you’ve read my devotional blog, you understand, Ozzy is my handsome gentleman who is wonderful in every way!   Ozzy is my schnoodle—schnauzer-poodle mix. He’s a great dog that teaches me every day about grace, trust, dependence and obedience. If you have a dog lover in your life—this is the devotional book for him or her. It’s priced for gift giving.

Finding the Holy in a mundane world is a good read for the new believer or non-believer. It offers an introduction to God’s character, Jesus’ example of grace, why grace is AMAZING and the call of the Christian life—doing good things not simply following a list of “don’ts”

2.  CLICK IT!

  • You can find a link to the blog on Pintrest—Repin it when you see it!
  • Thanks to those of you who share my blog link, who have signed up to get an email each day when the blog posts, and who click the “like” button on Facebook! Those little things make a big difference!
  • I never knew the importance OR impact of that little “Like” button. The Internet is a wild and wonderful              place with a ranking system that goes something like this;

The more attention people give a site, the more attention Google gives a site—the more attention Google gives a site—the more people see that site.

YOUR CLICKS COUNT! Even better than a “like” is a “share” on your timeline. It’s without a doubt THE simplest thing you can do to push Finding the Holy in a mundane world forward.

Please like and share the link you see on Facebook. If you are an email subscriber, forward the email to your friends.

BIG THANKS!!! To those of you who do “like” and “share” this blog!

  • If you doubt God’s ability to use the unqualified to do more than I could ask or even imagine, scroll down and peek at the world map in the right hand column. Each one of those “Heartsrepresents someone who has seen Finding the Holy in a mundane world. If you have shared this blog with someone, you are part of a worldwide ministry! God truly is amazing! I’m truly amazed! God can use a discombobulated, unsettled goof-ball to spread His word around the world. Thanks for your part in sharing this blog.

3. Talk to me!

I know some of you are intimidated or irritated by having to “sign in” to leave a message. Let me tell you why that sign in is necessary. There are a lot of kooks in the world—I don’t mean you.  I mean people who bombard websites with advertisements, and SPAM. I use DISQUS so kookie/offensive comments are held until I approve them. It also let’s me block SPAM sites once they make a visit.

Don’t worry—as far as I’m concerned, I’ll never share your email addresses with anyone. You’re safe. I’m dying to hear from you—even constructive criticism—I’ve been away from surgeons for months now!!

Let me know how you are Finding the Holy in your mundane world!

 

Thanks! I’m humbled and honored to have you visit. I hope to hear from your soon!

 

Here are the links for last week’s posts! Enjoy and share!  Don’t send this post to your friends.  Click a link below and forward it on!  😉

See you tomorrow!

Is there some longing in your soul that needs a drink?

Paul tells the believer to pick out a different wardrobe

You didn’t go the extra mile to be weak. You didn’t work hard to be dependent.

Read More

The Do Commands: Be weak

weak

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;  but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.   Isaiah 40:29-31 (MSG)

He gives proud skeptics a cold shoulder, but if you’re down on your luck, he’s right there to help. Proverbs 3:34 (MSG)

 

Be weak! Be dependent!

That is not advice society offers; it’s usually quite the opposite. The speeches given at graduation commencement typically revolve around working hard, being tough, accomplishing goals, “making something” of yourself using your skills and talents.

To aid in the accomplishment of those goals all sorts of measures come into play. Where I work, I fill out an annual self-assessment of my goals from the previous year. Tax forms at the end of the year detail an individual’s worth in dollars and cents. Awards are won, incentives are given and grades are tabulated by instructors; in an effort to quantify one’s accomplishments.

If you are like me, you feel a bit creepy right now. Certainly, people are more than what they earn, what they do and what they achieve. Let me ask, how many of you have worked long, hard hours to get a promotion? Have you performed those extra tasks to get a raise? Have you sacrificed yourself to get ahead?

You didn’t go the extra mile to be weak. You didn’t work hard to be dependent.

Chances are good you are weak, tired and weary because of your efforts to avoid being weak, tired and weary. It’s God’s upside-down kingdom at work again. In this kingdom, being weak is not pathetic, being weary is not a shame and being dependent is a requirement.

The verse above, from Proverbs, maybe more familiar as James quoted it James 4:6:

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (NIV)

Pride keeps many locked in a tail-chase, in a never-ending pursuit of perfection and independence. All the time God stands by waiting for the exhausted soul to give up and admit weakness and dependence.   It’s at that moment, at the moment when you resign your efforts and ask God to take over, that hope and trust begins to renew the believer. The upsurge of God’s power makes soaring possible. The wobbly legs, tired from the race, become strong. The daily walk of life is pleasant.

Use your gifts and talents to serve the heavenly Father who gave them to you. At the same time, be weak. The weak are renewed. Those dependent on the wind, soar. Those who find their hope in the Lord, also find strength.

Father, calm my driven spirit. Help me to not get caught up in the world’s description of success. Teach me to be dependent on You and Your strength.   Keep my heart weak before You.

 

Image courtesy of Bing.com/images

 

 

 

Read More